Greetings conversationalists all across the fruited plain, it is I your personal Harvester of Sorrow the one and only Phantom Lord and this is The Phantom Rant. As always I am coming to you from my climate controlled bunker in the urban cesspool that is Brooklyn, New York and I am trying to keep my brain firing on all cylinders so here I am with another column.
The Phantom brand (indulge me and my ego here people) is something I’ve worked very hard over the last decade to mold and shape into what it is today. I am universally despised by some and loved by others. As I’ve said before the art of column writing is a dying art form. But I am a dinosaur who refuses to adapt to the times. I have a webcam, yet I don’t do video blogs like everyone else. So I guess until I transition into doing those I’ll keep on complaining here in text form.
The Phantom brand…I just realized how ridiculous that sounds.
Anyway the big story for the last week has been CM Punk and just how awesome he is. Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard by now that CM Punk did the mother of all “shoot” promo’s last week at the end of Raw. Punk essentially said everything that every bitter fan (people like me) have been saying for years. John Cena is only where he is today because he kisses Vince’s ass as much as Hulk Hogan did. I have been saying for years that John Cena is this generation’s Hulk Hogan and it has been CONFIRMED. Okay granted I didn’t think he was Hogan in that sense, but nonetheless while I was watching it I was like this is the greatest thing ever.
Ever since it happened there is still is debate on the Interweb’s as to whether or not it was a shoot or a “shoot”. As much as I might hate Vince McMahon and his vision of things, the man is a control freak. If Punk were shooting for reals, the WWE logo would have come up the second he went off script. Punk would have been fired the moment he walked through the curtain and a million conspiracy theories would have been born. What happened is Vince did what he always does when things need to be shaken up. He threw a Hail Mary and hoped someone in the end zone caught it. CM Punk caught the ball and scored a touchdown.
It’s been a really long time since a promo got real wrestling fans to sit up and take notice. 99% of the time everything is so scripted and forced that we just end up tuning things out. But once in a while something so out of the blue happens that we take notice. I can count on my hand the number of times this has happened in the last decade.
1) The Paul Heyman promo before Survivor Series 2001
2) Joey Styles telling sports entertainment to kiss his ass on RAW in May of 2005
3) Paul Heyman again at One Night Stand in June of 2005.
Three times in the last decade (up until last week when CM Punk torched EVERYONE) is how many times I counted. If he were saying goodbye right then and there it would have been the greatest going down in blaze of glory moment in modern wrestling history.
It’s amazing how tightly controlled the WWE is when a moment like this only happens basically once every five years. The Money In The Bank PPV that by all accounts looked really weak now suddenly has become interesting. It’s no longer a filler PPV. Thanks to CM Punk people are giving a crap about it. Punk is walking into Chicago (well a suburb of Chicago) with the hometown crowd on his side and all wrestling fans that are sick and tired of the Cenation will be rooting for Punk to win the title. Imagine if this was something that had built up over a few months rather then out of the blue. The only thing that hurt this angle was the timing where the WWE decided to give everyone the 4th of July off so they taped that night’s RAW right after the previous week’s RAW went off the air. I am not a fan of pre-taped shows, especially if something monumental is going to happen.
Note from Phantom: This is a lesson TNA cannot learn. They will tape a month of shows over a week and they hope people forget about the spoilers by the time the show airs.
On RAW this past week we got the fallout from Punkgate as CM Punk has been “indefinitely suspended”…though he and the WWE came to an “agreement” that he has to fulfill his remaining non-televised event dates. See now here’s where things should have been treated as if it’s “for reals”. If Punk was suspended after RAW went off the air then at the very least he should have gotten the week off. Yeah the WWE had a tour of Australia to contend with, but that is why every wrestling, Boxing, & MMA promoter has a magical out called “Card Subject To Change”. If you read WWE house show results it’s like reading the set list for any number of major bands during a concert. It never changes and the results are almost the same every night.
I bet the WWE wishes they did do that and gave him the week off to continue the “suspension” angle. Thanks to even the cheapest of cellphones having remarkably good video capability, a fan in Australia recorded CM Punk doing what bad guy’s do when he was ripping into a fan at ringside. Even though Punk was biting his tongue by saying the guy had a vagina, unfortunately for him he made this mistake of calling the guy with a faux hawk a homo.
In the grand scheme of things it’s certainly not the worst thing a wrestler has ever called a fan. But unfortunately in 2011 in the PC world we live in, you just can’t say anything with out some group taking offense to it. Now CM Punk eventually did apologize when the video went viral and TMZ posted it on their website.
The WWE published a public apology and sent a press release to GLAAD letting them know that Punk’s contract is coming up and because of this he won’t be immediately resigned.
Now I’m sure I will get a lot of heat for this, but you know what I don’t think Punk should have apologized for anything. Do not get me wrong, intentional hate it always unacceptable. But this was a slip of the tongue in the heat of the moment. Plus I don’t think anyone was offended because we all can universally agree that faux hawk’s are just stupid.
But the WWE made a deal with GLAAD to promote equality and stuff so when one of their biggest stars slips up like this of course they have to do the whole apology route. We are human beings and we men especially tend to say stuff with out thinking. Stuff happens in the heat of the moment and Punk did the right thing to say he shouldn’t have said what he said. But that should have been it. The WWE doesn’t need to put out press releases talking about how people in the company will be going under sensitivity training and all that other bullshit most corporations make people do.
I was thinking about how times have really changed. Could you imagine if say during the golden age of wrestling if flip cams were available. I can’t begin to imagine the kind of stuff that would have been recorded at a local rasslin event in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Hell, go back to the late 40’s and early 50’s with Gorgeous George. Can you imagine the kind of hate he must have been getting just walking to the ring? I’m fairly certain every derogatory word you can think of was yelled at him. But you know what…that’s supposed to happen. You are supposed to boo the bad guy and curse him out and call him all kinds of names. If you annoy a wrestler to the point where he actually turns towards you and rips you a new one that just makes everything all the more fun.
In the old days it was the bad guys job to get the crowd so riled up that you wanted their blood spilled. Now a day’s there are very few wrestlers who want to do that kind of stuff. Punk is one of those guys who don’t really give a shit either way. He can have the crowd eating out of his hand one minute and them wanting to kill him in the next. He’s very much like Rowdy Roddy Piper in that regard.
Wrestling needs a bad guy like that again and CM Punk is that guy. But the WWE doesn’t see it that way and there was a report that Punk could be turning good.
According to Dave Meltzer, there are clues that CM Punk might be turning babyface in the near future. First, WWE has recently trademarked Punk’s name for merchandising. For those of you wondering, Punk gave WWE the rights to use the name but he can still use it himself if he leaves the company. Second, in a match with John Cena during WWE’s tour of Australia, Punk worked as a babyface and put over Cena after the match.
Meltzer speculates that Vince McMahon’s promo on the taped RAW was designed to get Punk over as a babyface and the company wants Punk to be cheered in Chicago at the Money in the Bank PPV. It’s possible that, when/if Punk returns, he’ll be the #2 babyface on RAW next to Cena and hopefully appeal to the male demographic that Cena doesn’t attract.
Credit to www.f4wonline.com
Oh great that’s all we need. Another face turn for someone who should be booed. Look at Randy Orton and look at Christian. Orton should not be a bland baby face with sociopath tendencies. Christian should not be the whiney bad guy who is coming up short. Orton is a dick (as evident by him doing an interview where he said Kelly Kelly banged half the locker room). He should be embracing this sort of thing and not being Stone Cold Randy Orton. Christian is the kind of guy you can root for and you want to see win the big one. When he finally did win the big one the WWE went and fucked it up by putting the belt on Orton and the ratings show that this choice was a horrible mistake.
When they say appeal to the male demographic that Cena doesn’t attract, they mean anyone over the age of puberty. The same goes for Orton. That’s why the ratings are falling like a rock. If Orton was a vicious heel who took joy in hurting people I would probably be a lot more interested in watching Smackdown then I am now. With Cena it’s a point I’ve made over and over. Cena’s fan bases are women and children. All adult males hate Cena. His Superman act is lame and when all the Cenation kids start to grow up, his whole respectful act will draw a lot more CENA SUCKS chants. If Punk is made the number 2 good guy next to Cena, Punk will eclipse him in six months tops. It’s like the choice we as fans made back in 1997-1998.
Do we root for the clean cut Rocky Mavia or the take no prisoners doesn’t give a shit about anyone or anything Stone Cold Steve Austin?
If my choice is between Superman Cena and CM Punk, it won’t be that hard of a decision to make.
Punk needs continue to be the bad guy just because every time someone who is bad is cheered in the WWE, the WWE turns them and they begin to suck (ie Randal).
The only thing that sucks about all of this is the fact it’s at Money In The Bank and not Summerslam. My fear (and it’s the fear of many others) is that Punk will do the impossible and defeat John Cena. Then about thirty seconds later after it looks like he’s about to leave the winner of the RAW MITB match comes out looking to cash in. Every time that has happened we all know the end result.
I have to commend the WWE for getting my interest up for the first time in years. For so long things have been so streamlined and mass produced and what Punk did was a thing of beauty.
PLEASE DO NOT FUCK THIS UP.
On that note I am done with this edition of The Phantom Rant. I am seriously debating moving this to a video blog since that’s what all the cool kids do. Who know maybe I could become The Cinema Snob for Wrestling.
So until next time, remember someone has to give you this information and it DAMN well has got to be me.
COMMENT as you see fit.
E-mail me at PhantomLordNYC@yahoo.com